Washington Huskies Basketball Preview: Inside the Tunnel

They’ve won fewer games than the year prior for three consecutive years. The recruiting has gone stagnant; they literally had no 2012 class. Last season was the worst defense (104.5 Drtg) that LoRo has ever put on a court. The program’s struggles are quantifiable if not palpable. Average attendance at Hec Ed since 2011 has grossly declined: 9650, 8785, 7937, 6582. It’s fair to say the seat is warming. But I see a light from within this tunnel. Look at this year’s roster. It’s not soon to wow you but it’s balanced and youthful and projects. And then you note that Washington already has commitments from four 4-star recruits in 2015 and one 5-star in 2016. Encouragingly, two of those ‘I-do’s’ have come from local kids. I see a light. But for this season, I think we’re still in the tunnel.

Why I Love Them:

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THREE FOR BART: Projections, Trojans, Me

  1. Projecting college hoops’ leaders in scoring, rebounding and assists- It’s Dan Hanner and Luke Winn. Read it.
  2. USC basketball team will be fast on the court, but progress might be slower – Yesterday we read about how Bob Ryan’s gamers rarely included quotes. That he was going to tell you the story. I love that. You’ll rarely find quotes on here but that’s also in part due to a lack of access. Remember, I don’t have an inside source. But sometimes they give us context beyond both teams played hard. Here’s some validation to my USC preview.
  3. Getting Some ‘Me’ Time: Why Millenials are so Individualistic – Here’s an article all about the redefining of when and what adulthood means. In other news, I turned 30 yesterday and it should be noted that I’m not a blogger in my mom’s basement but who is stably employed. I suppose the turning of my decade should have me pondering a lot of things about myself and what it means to – I dunno – be getting older. My mom texted me that “30 rocks!” When she was thirty she was taking care of me. Am I supposed to get introspective? What am I supposed to know? How millenial cliche was that series of questions? Right now I know we’re closer to November. Right now I know I’ve run a marathon and completed triathlons. I moved out of my parents house (in 2003). I’ve kissed a girl. I’ve traveled and Coachella doesn’t count. It’s estimated that more than 98% of the time I use the correct form of their, there, and they’re. I started this thing. I have a zero career ERA at the the NCAA level. And right now I know there’s still a lot ahead. That’s pretty cool.

USC Trojans Basketball Preview: Andy got a Point Guard

Well we’re not in El Paso any more, Amanda. Ok, so the Enfields never were in El Paso but I still haven’t come down from Andy’s jab at the guy who used to have his job, Tim Floyd. Nevertheless, getting this Trojan program up to par is going to take a little more than tapping heels and repeating a wishful determination. It’s also going to take more than Katin Reinhardt. But with Byron Wesley returning…wait, he’s in Spokane playing for a national title contender? Well shit. So let’s be serious: Year 2 of the Galen Dunk Center is probably going to be a little rough. Not quite two-conference wins rough, but not a ton better.

Why I Love Them:

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THREE FOR BART: Commish, Tiffani, Tempo

  1. The Commissioner - I read spots like this and it’s hard not to think we missed out on the ‘good old days’ or something so beyond cool I can’t reconcile doing anything in the current age. Where’s my curbside Midnight In Paris pickup? I want to rub elbows with Larry Bird and crush the loosely illegal bottle of Rose. I’d love to challenge Don Nelson to one-on-one. I instead settle for giddy one-on-ones with Nick Johnson. And sportswriters are such a romantic lot. Listen to the way Ryan’s contemporaries talk about him. But we only get to be revisionist because we’re also contemporary. Today is pretty terrific, too. I do get one-on-ones with Nick Johnson after I started a blog. This blog. In some regard, Bob Ryan helped build that.
  2. Washington hires woman to lead men’s basketball operations – While we’re somewhat, loosely, on the subject of progress, how about this move by LoRo and company? Tiffani Walker is joining the Washington staff and that’s an exciting development. From scheduling and other logistics, Walker will be in the thick of a major college basketball program. It seems unconfirmed whether she’s the highest ranking female within a major college program. She will be the only female on staff in the Pac-12 and the first ever female to join UW’s staff. Congratulations and best of luck.
  3. ASU Basketball: Jahii Carson may be gone, but tempo will still be emphasized – Did you guys spend any of your weekend curious about whether or not Herb Sendek was going to try and push the pace again? I kinda did and then Connor helped lead me to the answer. I don’t necessarily agree with the move – tempo I’m discovering in a project I’m working on is one of the first things to change before a coach gets fired. And Herb’s quotes seem less than confident (Let’s do it!). Nevertheless, here’s the plan.

Just in Case: The Leftovers and Your Role

If you didn’t watch HBO’s The Leftovers, it’s hard to say if you really missed out on anything. It’s a show about I-don’t-know-what, during which everything and nothing happens. It’s dark, captivating and confusing. I kinda hated it. I watched every episode.

The show centers on the aftermath of the disappearance, immediate and sudden, of 2% of the world’s population. In one moment, theygone. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters disappeared and everyone else was left to cope with the “Sudden Departure.”

This Sudden Departure happened on October 14th.

Tomorrow is October 14th.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

So if I disappear, if the Sudden Departure consumes me and you’re left to fend for your Pac-selves this season, here’s everything I need you to do this season. Naturally, there are twelve of them.

  1. Creatively and non-sophomorically discover a way to hilariously reference Wayne Tinkle – We can be better than the obvious. And don’t do something weird on Photoshop. That would be uncomfortable for everyone.
  2. Discover a player who’s changed his game and his torching the universe – Jordan Adams was a mid-range god as a freshmen and then took it to a new level – and location – as a sophomore. You’re well versed on how I appreciate getting to the rim and Jordan did exactly that. My excitement got ESPN linkage.
  3. The teams. The teams are going to different things than they used to. Watch that – This is a really, really vague point so I’ll just go ahead and note a few key things y’all should monitor: UCLA’s offense and how it operates without Kyle Anderson feeding Wear family jumpers and Jordan Adams layups or perhaps pivots to a more traditional Alford style; Andy Enfield’s offense and if it can actually become a dunk city; Arizona’s defense and rebounding which carried them at times last season might not project to be as good this season; is Cuonzo Martin that good of a defensive coach; presumably Johnny Dawkins has developed Stefan Nastic, Chasson Randle, and Anthony Brown as far as he can (seniors) how will the undeveloped assets (projected to be good) fill into a system of inconsistency?
  4. Feed whomever is running the Pac-12’s social channels the best questions for Media Day – Because then famous people will love you:

  5. Think of me in Indy – You can’t look at me on the eve of my possible-if-not-impending-Sudden-Departure and tell me my ‘Cats aren’t going. Not only would that be heartless, it’d be silly.
  6. Don’t lurk on Andy Enfield’s beholden – After a while it gets weird.
  7. Love Askia Booker (and other senior guards) – Last year I wrote about it here, here, and here. Oh, here as well. Four articles, one player. And now he’s a senior guard on a team with moderate-to-high expectations that almost entirely rest on what kind of season he’s going to have. A senior guard. I don’t make the stories, I just tell them. Trust me when I say Askia Booker is a story. And I’m not crazy enough to think you’ll love him just because I ask you to. I’ve met enough strangers on Tinder to know you can’t request love. So maybe there’s a senior guard on your squad to adore. Cherish that. Whether it’s DaVonte, Chasson, TJ, or even – hell – Jonathan Gilling, love your seniors.
  8. Go to HecEd, in Red, for me – As of now I’m going to Seattle for that February 13th tilt. Anyone need a Valentines? Of course this is all for naught should I disappear tomorrow. Nevertheless, the plan is for me to make my inaugural appearance and perhaps – if allowed – an inaugural address to the audience. I highly doubt the latter becomes reality, but if it did, that would be awesome. A whole slew of Wildcats will be coming so it’ll be fun. Let’s have fun. And if I’m not there, you guys have fun. And if it’s not HecEd and it’s not Red that you’re willing to do, travel to one opposing arena. Make a weekend of it. We’re lucky to have teams in some of the best cities this country has to offer.
  9. Unabashedly share your excitement for a yet-to-be-determined moment in the season with a completely unassuming person - Preferably this would be a co-worker. I’ve subjected countless co-workers who don’t know Sean Miller from Dennis Miller but you know what? They love my enthusiasm and that unsuspecting co-worker will no doubt love yours. And if I may recommend an execution method, I suggest you say it as swiftly as you can. Catch them off guard and go for the massive knowledge drop. They won’t know what hit them and you’ll probably come out of it looking either insane, passionate, or some combination thereof.
  10. Don’t push the Daddy Ball agenda - In a general theme of fandom, you’re better than this. We’re all better than this. Not only did LaVine’s numbers significantly decline throughout the season, Bryce is legit and the Bruins went to the Sweet Sixteen which was pretty much their ceiling anyways. Does Steve have some biases for his own kid? Probably. Did it cost him in PG recruiting? Another maybe. But he has an All-Freshman point guard returning and the most familial thing about that is talent.
  11. Recognize the shining moments – It’s a great big long season that culminates in a heart ripping and beautiful dance. But get wrapped up in the hope. Notice the process from November to March. The nuance of mid-range jumper, the progress of a sophomore, the stones of a senior. They’re moments, brief and shining, but when you look hard enough, there can be so many of them.
  12. By the way, full credit to UCLA -

THREE FOR BART: Friends, Jaeger, UX

  1. The Limits of Friendship – This is well worth the read and you should note that your intimate circles are generally limited to five, the same number that starts a basketball game. Interesting coincidence? Figure it for yourself. Also, I need to just quote one line from this article because it’s too good not to be highlighted. With regards to the affects of a generation being raised with increased virtual interactions and decreased face-to-face, this:

    “This is the big imponderable”

  2. Red Bull settles lawsuit, owes consumer cash – Ever had a Jaeger Bomb? I know you have you sandbagginsonofabitch. So go get yourself $10 back.
  3. How Bad UX Killed Jenny – The title certainly grabs you. But think about the user experience you have with so many of the different technologies you interact with. From the seamlessness of sliding ‘on’ your phone to you push-start car, UX has spent so much time living in the consumer space. I recently learned the term “consumer-grade.” And so maybe you don’t work in healthcare, but at some point, in the behind the scenes areas where business and decisions often get done or made, the UX there has been ignored. Often times this components are functional, robust, and all-encompassing, but they ain’t easy. There’s opportunity for improvement (sound anything like your performance review?). I’ve even kicked around the idea of starting data sites that simply have better UX and data visualization. We have any data miners out there? How about UX designers? If so, get at me. Let’s talk.

Arizona State Basketball Preview: The Guilty Remnant

Look, you know my stance on this institution. My intro will therefore take a very matter-o-fact tone. Only later will I decide whether or not to let you fill in the blanks or if I color it for you.

Herb’s contract was extended on the heels of beating Arizona and a return to the NCAA tournament. Herb achieved the tourney invite by playing the fastest brand of basketball he’s ever coached. Not coincidentally, last year’s team was also the best defensive team (by national ranking of AdjD) Herb’s had in Tempe. Their offense was the second most productive (109 ORtg) he’s built in Wells Fargo. That tempo was motored by Jahii Carson. That defense was anchored by dPOY, Jordan Bacnynski. That offense was stabilized by Jermaine Marshall and the vaunted Jahishall (a three pointer assisted by Jahii – and while I can’t tell you exactly how many Jahishalls were made, 57% of Marshall’s shots were threes, 92% of those that he made were assisted, 62% of Jahii’s assists resulted in a three – that’s a lot of Jahishalls). Those three are gone. What remains? The Guilty Remnant Cult.

Why I Love Them:

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THREE FOR BART: Maddux, Malcolm, Landon

  1. Thirteen Ways of Looking at Greg Maddux - It’s rarely about sports. The family, friend, or even stranger next to us. Maybe even the stranger on the field of play. We’re drawn to the connection. Something bigger. And if that connection is ever broke, it’s how small we can feel. Maybe my favorite link I’ve shared on here. And note, this article has nothing to do with Greg Maddux. And everything.
  2. Malcolm Gladwell On Steve Jobs – Hereinlies a business conundrum that I often am encountered with and a phrase, whether previously used or otherwise, that I like to subscribe to: don’t let perfect get in the way of done. Urgency, Gladwell explains, was the driving force behind Steve Jobs’ success. Turns out, he did things the best. But even now, look at the release of Apple’s latest iOS – it’s not doing too hot. But here’s the thing: it’s doing. And so, transitioning to hoops, who’s to say that John Calipari’s open practice with a wink at NBA scouts is right or wrong? The fact of the matter is that it is. What about when Tony Bennett turned the pace to just above tortoise? Well he damn near won the conference. The lesson here might is to believe and do. Or, at worst, go down swinging.
  3. So Long, Landon Donovan – This title doesn’t do justice the subject matter. After months of what we saw for Derek Jeter and the subsequent prose, Donovan was transcendent. Soccer is (was?) the bastion to our athleto-politco desires of a Miracle On Ice long past. Through Donovan, we believed that the US was still an underdog with a fighter’s chance and a hidden hero in the global sense of victory. We as a nation are accustomed to winning – for better or worse. In soccer, futbol, we’ve tasted very little victory. Donovan was one of the first to let us realize that we don’t have to give up on the beautiful game.

Three For BART is a daily (or really close to that) drop of three thought provoking articles for your commute or day. Submissions for inclusion taken at:

Ernie Kent

Washington State Basketball Preview: DaVonte & Ernie

I was trying to lede this with an analogy about Ichabod Crane and Ken Bone, noting something about the former’s role in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. But I can’t really find anything besides a beheading. Turns out, Ichabod was kind of a prick and Ken Bone’s a good dude. Best of luck on what seems to be a new power staff at Montana (of note, I’ve met two of these staffers in social settings). Enter the retread, Ernie Kent. No, no, no…too  negative. Is this like dating your buddy’s ex? Anyhow, Ernie’s going to pick up the pace for the handful of talent he’s got. I’m still kinda left looking for the big picture, however.

Why I Love Them:

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THREE FOR BART: Buckets, Utes, Dad

  1. Looking for a shotAnd here I find myself torn. Recruiting is beast of equal parts science, self-awareness, and bullshit. You’ve got to fill your program with the pieces that will most benefit your program, your style (that’s the science and self-awareness). The bullshit is everything else. I don’t really need to go into it. So what of a kid like this? Is he worth the risk? What kind of a shot does he deserve? If he doesn’t fit your system, don’t take this risk. If you don’t project him out to be successful, you’re not going to help him be successful. But success is relative. Someone’s going to give Ruggles a shot to make shots. I just hope they believe in what they’re doing. Continue reading